Michael Cranston is not having a good week.
Reports have surfaced that the Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Tax Office tried to pressure colleagues in to cutting a deal for his son Adam, 30, during the eight-month investigation into the alleged $165 million stolen from the commonwealth in tax fraud.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald Adam Cranston told his father he believed his company Plutus Payroll was the subject of an inquiry.
Cranston Snr then allegedly approached two senior Tax Office employees – who have since been suspended without pay – in an attempt to make the whole thing go away.
After that conversation, one of the assistant commissioners allegedly accessed the database.
Sources say Cranston said the case should be settled by some sort of resolution, most likely referencing the fact that the Tax Office sometimes resolves matters by agreeing to receive a payment from those accused of tax fraud.
He then allegedly attempted to approach Tax Office investigators tasked with the fraud inquiry but the Australian Federal Police had already warned them such an approach was likely, and to knock it back.
Cranston Snr has since been charged with two counts of abusing a public office to gain advantage and will appear in court on June 13.
Adam Cranston was charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth over his involvement in the unlawful tax fraud scheme from the middle of 2016.
He has since been released on bail along with his sister Lauren, 24.
Sources say the sophisticated syndicate which involved nine people, including the Cranston siblings, had yielded $60M in three months while investigators have said overall, $165M was accumulated.
However, a true figure has been difficult to estimate as authorities continue to scramble to seize more assets.
It’s been said Cranston Snr was unaware his son was the subject of the probe until Adam approached him, despite the massive wealth his son was accumulating.
The $165M stolen from the commonwealth has been called the nation’s biggest tax evasion scheme.